Navy will continue to strengthen its special forces – Gambo

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By Sumaila Ogbaje

The Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo, says the Nigerian Navy will continue to increase the strength of its special forces to defend the nation’s territorial waters.

Gambo gave the assurance during the inauguration of the Special Forces Holding Bay and other projects on Friday at the Naval Unit Abuja.

The holding bay was named after the pioneer Commander of the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service (SBS), retired Rear Adm. Apochi Suleiman.

He said that the SBS since its formative stage had been acknowledged to be the the best among the armed forces.

He added that the Nigerian Navy SBS had also done so much in restoring peace and security to The Gambia and put the country together.

Gambo said that naming the SF Holding Bay after Suleiman was a well-deserved honour to the retired senior officer who nurtured the SBS to where it is today.

“Thank you very much thus far for making the country proud, not just the Nigerian Navy and the SBS.

“I am sure that the next chief after me will ensure that the standards are kept or expand it and we will continue to do that for the benefits and unity of our great country, Nigeria,” he said.

Responding, Suleiman said that a lot of people had been ignorant about the operations of the special forces in warfare.

He said that special forces had played and continued to play important roles throughout the history of warfare, adding that the Nigerian Navy had become ready and capable for rapid deployment to meet varying contingency both in peace and wartime.

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He added that the need to develop the capacity to respond quickly in support of armed forces in regional and sub-regional conflict resolution efforts was crucial to the formation of the special forces.

According to him, it is also essential for the Nigerian Navy to have rapid response forces for the conduct of search and rescue operations and conduct operations in aid or support of the civil authority during natural disasters and national emergencies.

“The need to attack and engage strategic operational targets with small units dragged the Navy into the formation of special forces with specialised highly focused capability.

“The special unit will be required to conduct special operations when the use of larger ships is inappropriate or impossible.

“The SBS were given mission specific training beyond the Nava basic skills where each of the personnel maintain a very high level of competency in more than one military specialty.

“They were carefully selected, trained, organised and equipped specially to accomplish specify roles and missions such as direct action, guerrilla warfare, special reconnaissance, security warfare, search and rescue.

“They were also trained for maintenance, welfare snapping, surveillance, unconventional warfare, material assistance, security assistance, information operation, combat terrorism, civil affairs, foreign and internal defence and peacekeeping operations,” he said.

Speaking further on the honour of naming SF holding bay after him, Suleiman said the honour was worth more than what money could buy, adding that he neither expected it nor thought of it.

He advised serving officers and ratings to put in their best in the discharge of their assigned responsibilities with diligence, adding that the navy system promotes punishment and rewards for actions. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Julius Toba-Jegede

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